First Minister the Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA have promoted business and university links in Boston.
On the five-day visit to Boston and Chicago, the First Minister and deputy First Minister met over 100 representatives from companies, universities, recent investors and the Diaspora in Boston, to boost trade and investment opportunities as well as university collaborations.
Speaking at the business event in Boston the First Minister Peter Robinson said: “Northern Ireland is second only to London as the top UK destination for inward investment. Inward investment projects into Northern Ireland have grown by 41% in the last year. This growth has come from expansion and investment in all sectors including Bombardier in aerospace, Terumo’s medical devices and Vello and Merchant Warehouse in software. Last week, we saw a further 250 new jobs announced by Bombardier during the Northern Ireland Investment Conference in Belfast.
“It is not just our investors achieving international success. Our local businesses are playing a pivotal role in our transformation into a world-class and progressive region that is now an integral part of the US community. In 2012, local companies’ exports to North America were worth more than $1.6billion and are growing 20% annually.
“Northern Ireland has come a long way since the devolved administration, politically, socially and economically. We have seen more investment from the United States during this time than at any other time in its past. We have many of the building blocks in place to take our economy to a higher level.”
The deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness said: “We have strong historical, business and university links with the city of Boston and we want to build on those relationships to grow our economy.
“Companies, such as Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance, have already brought much-needed jobs into the north of Ireland, when they set up their Belfast office. We want to attract further investment from the Boston area and this week's visit to the USA provides us with the opportunity to showcase the north of Ireland as an excellent investment location and an ideal gateway into the European market.
“Boston’s world-class academic and education system is the cornerstone of its economy and we are developing our economy on a similar basis. Our two universities are producing graduates every year with the key skills and aptitudes for business. We have a high percentage, 77% of IT professionals, holding a degree level qualification, providing a firm foundation on which to grow our shared innovative future and build a world-class knowledge economy.”